The launch of Ethereum (ETH) in 2015 shifted the view in the crypto space from the coins themselves to the cryptocurrencies' underlying technology, the blockchain. What followed was a strong focus on blockchain's alternative use cases, where the creation and use of decentralized applications (dApps) emerged as one of the main ones.
Soon, numerous other new projects focusing on the dApp development arrived, with Ethereum being the leader in this sector to this day. However, there is still a clear lack of any mainstream decentralized application in the entire crypto space, and the majority of currently active dApps now have 0 users.
Out of 1375 currently active dApps within Ethereum's ecosystem, 86% of them currently have zero users, with 93% having 0 transaction volume. At the same time, the entire blockchain space has around 1828 live dApps, with 77% of them having 0 users today, and 85% of them have 0 transaction volume.
In other words, out of its 1375 active dApps in Ethereum's ecosystem, only 200 of them are being used, while the number of dApps that have seen any amount in transactions is 103.
Meanwhile, the entire crypto space only has 426 decentralized applications that are seeing use, with only 271 of them having actual transactions.
The lack of dApp usage is a big problem, as the majority of them, while fully operational, remain abandoned. The issue was recently mentioned on Reddit as well, with crypto enthusiasts commenting that the reason might be the fact that the unused dApps have "zero reasons to exist in the first place." In other words, what they offer is the same type of service that regular applications can offer.
However, there is one clear distinction — as dApps are blockchain based, using them comes with a fee. Even if they are just as user-friendly and functional as regular apps (which is often not the case), users have to make microtransactions in order to make it work, which does not attract them to the project.
Another Reddit user stated that the majority of Ethereum-based dApps are "completely pointless," with the social media dApp Peepeth, for example, only being a harder-to-use Twitter. While some dApps benefit from their connection to the blockchain — such as gambling dApps, where gamblers can create smart contracts and ensure that they will get paid if they win — the majority of them is just seen as a way of promoting Ethereum, and an expensive one, at that.
Others argue that the fault for the issue lies with Ethereum itself. Low fees regarding dApp creation have allowed a number of dApps to be developed, even if they do not have real potential. In addition, some community members believe that Ethereum lost the sense of innovation which shifted the attention towards it and the blockchain in the first place.
This is what other projects did differently, with higher creation fees leading only to serious projects coming to life. As a result, projects like EOS and TRON have a lot fewer dApps, although they manage to remain more popular.
While the move to decentralize the internet is a noble one, there are a lot of issues to be resolved before it can truly happen. dApp adoption is a crucial part of it, but it will not happen as long as they represent a fee-including version of regular applications.
Of course, there are benefits that dApps bring, such as being more difficult to regulate or shut down by authorities, who find it easy to go after centralized companies. However, this is pretty much where the benefits end, while there is a significantly larger pile of problems and complaints.
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